View Full Version : [kubuntu] Am I sending tons of ARP requests? If so, why? and is this normal?

May 10th, 2009, 04:32 PM
I just loaded IPTraf and have been watching my own connection (eth0,) the traffic is flying by (roughly 50 per second) and most of it looks like this:

ARP request for <various IPs> (188 bytes) from <this value remains constant> to ffffffffffff on eth0

Is my machine generating these requests? lol Is this a good thing?

May 10th, 2009, 04:36 PM
Generating tons of arp packets can be part of cracking a wireless network using WEP encryption. Once they have generated enough packets, they can crack the key and use your network.

Running wireless with WEP?

May 10th, 2009, 04:47 PM
No wireless that I know of. lol I am fairly confident that my ISP would happily be charging me more if I did have wireless.

So... my machine is not making these?

May 11th, 2009, 06:05 PM
Is this originating from my machine or not?

ARP request for <various IPs> (188 bytes) from <this value remains constant> to ffffffffffff on eth0

May 11th, 2009, 06:32 PM
ARP request for <various IPs> (188 bytes) from <this value remains constant> to ffffffffffff on eth0Is this your IP address? Check with:
ifconfig eth0

May 11th, 2009, 06:49 PM
IPTraf is showing a "MAC address" in that location.

I do not recognize the number and it is not shown in the data from ifconfig eth0.

It is a single set of numbers and (two) letters, but not broken up with punctuation, (nor even spaces,) the way I have seen them shown before.

May 11th, 2009, 08:42 PM
ARP request for <various IPs> (188 bytes) from <this value remains constant> to ffffffffffff on eth0

if <this value remains constant> is not found anywhere as "HWaddr" in the output of ifconfig eth0, then it's not your machine:

user@host:~$ ifconfig eth0
eth0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:22:1a:b7:24:e8
inet addr: Bcast: Mask:
RX packets:90697 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:86099 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
RX bytes:89582682 (89.5 MB) TX bytes:14285314 (14.2 MB)

Do you have an internet access via cable, and did you hook up your cable modem directly to eth0 of your computer?

Some cable providers group their home user customers in rather large subnet chunks, up to (theoretically) several 1000 customers per IP subnet (I see /20 subnet masks on a regular basis, makes for up to 4k IP addresses in a single subnet).

Now we know that there is an immense number of bot/worm/virus-infected PCs on the Internet. One of their tasks is to scan the network for other candidates for infection. From their bot master, they get a list of IP ranges to scan, and guess what, it's the well known IP-ranges of home broadband subnets that are subject to such scanning by bots - that's where they'll find poorly configured firewalls and unpatched operating systems without security updates.

So if they scan for a certain IP from their list (sending a TCP SYN to a possibly open TCP port), the "last" router that has a leg in the (possible) victim's IP subnet must do an ARP broadcast to find out the MAC address that belongs to that IP address. But the previous owner of that IP address might be offline - and the router will repeat it's broadcast a few times.

Now imagine this happening for several hundred IPs (some being "live", some being offline) at the same time. Then remember that ARPs are sent as Ethernet broadcasts (as can be seen by the destination address: FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF), and that these must be sent to everyone on the broadcast domain - that's where you get a good amount of the ARP traffic from.

To see if you get those ARP broadcasts from your ISPs router, look at netstat -nr to see the IP address of your default gateway (the one with the Destination and Genmask). IP addresses are from my subnet - yours will be totally different:

user@host:~$ netstat -nr
Kernel IP routing table
Destination Gateway Genmask Flags MSS Window irtt Iface U 0 0 0 eth0 UG 0 0 0 eth0

and then look at arp -na to see which MAC address your Default Gateway has:

user@host:~$ arp -na
? ( at 00:1a:24:33:ab:46 [ether] on eth0
? ( at 00:14:e8:c6:29:32 [ether] on eth0

Now look back at <this value remains constant>. Is it the same? Then these ARP broadcasts are coming from your ISP's router - and it's neither the router nor the ISP's fault: If the "last router" must forward a packet to one of the ISP's customers, it must ARP for it - no way around that.

.oO( ceterum censeo: large subnets do have drawbacks! )



May 11th, 2009, 09:08 PM
Yes, it is the same. Thank you! Had me worried. lol

The MAC address that showed up with ifconfig eth0, was clearly mine, or at least KNetworkManager said so. It was just the other one that caused mild alarm.

Thank you for educating me!!! Very much appreciated!

May 11th, 2009, 09:15 PM
Okay, who moved it?!? lol Damn, I don't see the option to Thank nor to mark the thread solved.